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Innovation benefits children

Update: December, 05/2014 - 08:26
Students study after class at Phuc Than boarding school in the northern mountainous province of Lai Chau. Ethnic minority boarding schools allowed children who live in remote mountainous areas to spend the week learning at school and return home on the weekends. – VNA/VNS Photo Quy Trung

HA NOI (VNS) — Urgent action was needed to allow millions of children to capitalise on the benefits of innovation, UNICEF said in a report launched to mark the 25th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

The State of the World's Children Report – Re-imagine the future: Innovation for every child - said that connectivity and collaboration could fuel new global networks to enable innovation to reach every child.

In the report, UNICEF highlighted innovations that Viet Nam has carried out to benefit its children.

HEBI, a ready-to-use therapeutic food, produced by the National Institute of Nutrition with support from UNICEF and the Institute for Research and Development on a not-for profit basis, is currently used for the management of severe acute malnutrition in children from Kon Tum Province.

It is made mostly from local ingredients and has been adapted to the tastes of Vietnamese children. The product may be included in the National Social Health Insurance scheme covering children under six years of age.

Ethnic minority boarding schools have been opened to allow children who live in remote mountainous areas to spend the school week living and learning in the same locality, returning home at weekends.

The boarding school model, which increases access and also improves quality of education for children has been adopted and supported by the Government.

The model has been expanded from 13,230 students in two provinces in 2010-2011 to 128,643 students in 26 provinces in 2013-2014.

The report called on governments, development professionals, businesses, activists and communities to drive new ideas for tackling some of the most pressing problems facing children – and to find new ways of scaling up the best and most promising local innovations.

"Human beings are born into an increasingly connected world where lines between local and global problems are blurred. This presents an unprecedented opportunity to foster the creation of movements and new partnerships and to build a global community of innovation for equity," said Youssouf Abdel-Jelil, UNICEF Representative in Viet Nam.

The United Nations General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1989. In 1990, Viet Nam was the first country in Asia and second country in the World to ratify it.

Since then, there has been tremendous progress in advancing child rights. Under-five mortality rates have been reduced by 75 per cent and most children now attend primary school. High immunisation coverage helped eradicate polio in 2000 and maternal and neonatal tetanus in 2005.

However, the report said Viet Nam had problems with hard to reach ethnic minorities, urban migrants, and other vulnerable population groups.

"The world is changing every day and Viet Nam is now in the process of developing its Social Economic Development plan for 2016-2020. To address the current challenges, we need new ways of thinking, and innovative solutions that go beyond traditional approaches", said Doan Mau Diep, Deputy Minister of Labour, Invalid and Social Affairs.

The Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs has joined efforts to amend the Law on Child Protection, Care and Education. The amended law would improve child protection services, ensure policies and services for poor children, ethnic minorities children and children in remote areas, said Diep.

"We encourage initiatives, especially those that come from children themselves, to help us get closer to disadvantaged children and implement their rights," he said. — VNS

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